A Post By: Andre Smith
Digital photo books have a multitude of creative uses. They offer an attractive way to display photos beyond the realm of an electronic device. Digital photos books make great gifts for a variety of occasions. The large assortment of editing and formatting tools available make it easy to create high quality photo books that are ideal for a portfolio of professional work. Most online photo book companies provide templates to simplify the design process. An attractive photo book can be made in only a few minutes.
Striving for perfection can take the fun out of making a photo book. Realize that it doesn’t need to be flawless to be delightful. While it isn’t necessary to be exact, there are a number of steps that will enhance the aesthetic value of the photo book.
- Use good quality photos. Most photo book sites will notify the user if the resolution is poor, but other problems such as red eye or brightness may also detract from the photos. Make sure to preview the photos before sending them to the printer.
- Don’t use an overabundance of photos. Allow enough space to avoid a cluttered appearance. If there is a photo that is of significant importance or quality, don’t hesitate to use an entire page to draw attention to it.
- Add other elements to the composition such as text. Scan maps, event tickets or business cards and incorporate them into the composition to add detail or personalize it. Simply load them into the layout like any other photo.
- Use consistent fonts throughout the photo book.
- Vary the layout to prevent the viewer from becoming bored.
- Ensure that photos and other elements are properly aligned and not too near the edge of the page.
- Text should be checked for spelling errors prior to publishing.
Selecting and Organizing Photos
Organizing the photos prior to uploading them to the photo book software will save time and make the process much simpler. Once the photos are downloaded from the camera, it’s wise to back up the unaltered files on a CD or DVD. Next, remove any poor quality photos from the files to be uploaded. This would include photos that are blurry. Photos that are too bright or too dark but otherwise pleasing can be edited. Select the best photos and place them in a separate folder. Keep in mind the theme of the photo book when choosing photos, and select those that will convey the experience you wish to describe.
Any photos that are subpar may be edited prior to uploading. Some photo book companies provide editing tools, but they are often somewhat limited in capabilities. One of the most popular tools for editing photos is Adobe Photoshop. It is available for PC and Mac. Photoshop provides many sophisticated tools. It allows photos to be overlayed, parts to be clipped out, and text and drawings to be added. Adobe Photoshop is a professional graphics tool and is quite expensive, but a 30 day free trial is available. There are also a number of free editing tools available online.
Picasa includes tools for adjusting color, contrast and brightness as well as creating special effects. It also offers a nice collage feature.
PicMonkey operates from a browser. Photos are dragged and dropped into the editor. It includes basic editing tools as well as advanced features.
Pixlr is similar to Adobe Photoshop in that it allows photos to be edited in layers. There are different versions of the software including a simplified version, Pixlr Express, and Pixlr-o-mati that includes filters for color shifting and special effects.
Selecting an Online Photo Book Printing Company
Choosing a photo book print company will depend largely on preferences. However, there are a few things to look for when deciding where to have a photo book printed:
- Customized layouts
- Quality Printing and paper
- Choice of hard and soft covers
- Affordable pricing
I recommend Digital Print Australia. They also offer design tools for beginners as well as professional designers (see here) and can deliver the photo book in one to two days.
Arranging the Layout
Once a design company is selected, creating a photo book is as simple as selecting a theme and uploading the photos. The photos can be arranged in any manner desired. The templates offered by online companies are usually sufficient if the book is for a single event and the number of photos is not large. However, if the book has multiple events, more than 100 photos or a special theme is desired, it may be preferable to design the layout using separate software. Microsoft Publisher is readily available on most PCs and capable of creating splendid designs. When planning the layout, the following guidelines will help create a more aesthetically pleasing composition:
- Customize background colors to harmonize with photos.
- Use captions to inform the viewer of location or other details.
- Add variations to the components of the layout such as rounded corners, a mixture of horizontal and vertical photos and size variations to make it more interesting.
- Use a mixture of simple and complex layouts throughout the book.
- Vary the number of photos the pages.
Andre Smith is a writer and an amateur photographer traveling the land Down Under capturing images of the National Parks. He admires Ansel Adams and likes to learn and write about different ways of expressing creativity.